By LIBBY CATHEY, ABC News
(WASHINGTON) — The confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, continue Wednesday with more question and answer rounds.
Senate Republicans continue their push for a final vote before Election Day despite Democratic calls to let voters decide who should pick a new justice.
Trump nominated Barrett to fill the seat left open by the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
The four days of Senate Judiciary Committee hearings, overseen by Chairman Lindsey Graham, are unprecedented, with some members participating virtually and in-person. Barrett is appearing at the witness table to face questions.
Hearings begin at 9 a.m. each day and will be live streamed on ABC News Live.
The question and answer portion began Tuesday with Democrats arguing protections from landmark cases on health care and same-sex marriage are at risk with Barrett’s nomination, while Republicans afforded her opportunities to defend her impartiality as a judge.
Barrett, 48, was a law clerk to conservative Justice Antonin Scalia and follows his originalist interpretation of the Constitution. She practiced law at a Washington firm for two years before returning to her alma mater, Notre Dame Law School, to teach. She was nominated by Trump in 2017 to the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and confirmed by the Senate in a 55-43 vote.
Here’s how the news is developing Wednesday. All times Eastern:
Oct 14, 8:25 am
Day 3 breakdown
After spending more than 11 hours on Capitol Hill Tuesday, Judge Barrett will face a second and possibly third round of questioning in the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday, and then members will enter a closed hearing to review her FBI background check.
In the second round of questioning, senators will be given 20 minutes each, as opposed to the 30 minutes they received Tuesday. The order of questioning is determined by seniority.
With 22 senators, the round is expected to last seven hours.
It’s possible the committee will then enter a third round of questioning. If there is one, each senator will receive 10 additional minutes to question Barrett, adding roughly four hours to the hearing.
After questioning concludes, members will enter a closed session to review sensitive FBI background material on Barrett, as customary in the Supreme Court nomination process.
Oct 14, 7:29 am
Road to Senate majority could run through SCOTUS hearings
It’s not about the votes in the room — virtual or otherwise — or even the votes in the Senate as a whole.
This week’s hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett are odd in at least one respect: They appear unlikely to influence the decision of a single senator when it comes time to vote on her confirmation for the Supreme Court.
But the hearings could matter a great deal when it comes to determining who will sit in similar rooms next year and beyond. Four potentially vulnerable Republican senators sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee on the eve of elections that look increasingly dire for their party.
That list includes Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who opened Tuesday’s hearing with a riff about how Obamacare has been a “disaster” that he argued is laying the groundwork for Democrats to impose a single-payer system.
“That’s a political debate we’re involved in,” said Graham, in what he acknowledged wasn’t actually a question to Barrett.
Democrats on the committee include Sen. Kamala Harris, the Democratic nominee for vice president, along with a range of potential Biden administration Cabinet picks. Their goal for the week is less about changing colleagues’ minds than it is highlighting what a conservative-leaning court could mean for matters of policy.
To that end, Barrett said repeatedly that she has no predetermined position on the Trump administration’s challenge to the Affordable Care Act — a case scheduled to go in front of the Supreme Court just days after the election.
Barrett also said she would “consider” recusing herself from a case that arises from a dispute in the election.
And in one striking exchange, her care in not prejudging outcomes left her declining to say whether the president has any right under the Constitution to delay an election — a power he clearly does not have.
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